Up to a third of Kiwi kids struggling to lead a happy life - report

A new study has found up to a third of Kiwi children are struggling to lead a happy life.

The Children's Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki spoke to more than 6000 children and found racism, discrimination, violence and drugs are a common theme for many of them.

Spokesperson Hoani Lambert was shocked by some of the findings.

"It was quite surprising to see the number of young people who experience racism, who experience stigma because they might be in care."

One child told the report they face bullying for being in foster care.

"Something I always have to deal with at school is the stigma. When people find out you're a foster kid they're like 'oh you're an orphan, whose house did you burn down,'" they said.

Oranga Tamariki CEO Gráinne Moss said the stories children told in the report are difficult to hear, but important.

"We are absolutely listening, and we are working hard to improve the experience of children and young people in our care," she said in a statement.

Mr Lambert said there are things that can be done to improve children's wellbeing.

"There was around about 10 percent who indicated they would perhaps see some important improvements to their lives if attention were paid to improvement in relationships."

He's hopeful the report's findings will lead to change across the sector.

"We're hoping that Government agencies and non-Government organisations who deliver services to children and young people will think about the way that they're currently designing their programmes."

The report's findings will be used to inform the Government's child and youth wellbeing strategy.


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